UTAH: Wild Horses of the Onaqui Mountains

Wednesday,May,2021 : Wild Horses Onaqui Heard Management area with Jim and Jody. Jeff Swinger/SwingmanPhoto


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2023 :: April 23 - April 29


From: $3,950 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC)


6 - 10 Participants


10 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of UTAH: Wild Horses of the Onaqui Mountains

  • Two leaders for plenty of hands-on instruction
  • Incredible opportunities to photograph wild mustangs of all ages
  • The Onaqui herd consists of brown, bay, sorrel, roan, buckskin, black, palomino, grey and paints
  • Beautiful landscapes all around

Description of UTAH: Wild Horses of the Onaqui Mountains

Located 90 minutes from Salt Lake City in the Onaqui Mountain Range is a herd of wild mustangs that have been there since the late 1800s (more than 130 years). They are secluded behind mountains, hidden in valleys and free to roam over 43,000 acres of federal, state and privately owned land. The Onaqui herd is relatively large herd of approximately 200 horses that offer some of the most easily accessible and reliable photo and viewing opportunities of any Utah herd. Nearby reservoirs and intermittent streams fed by winter snows and spring runoff provide adequate feed and water for the herd.  

While most free-roaming horses are understandably shy and wary of people, many have become familiar with the presence of humans and their vehicles. However, you should never attempt to interact with these animals in any fashion. Seemingly tame, free-roaming horses are easily spooked and can cause serious injury without warning or provocation. Your effort to feed or pet these animals is against federal law, which also prohibits chasing, harassing or harming free-roaming horses in any way. A minimum distance of 100 feet between you and the horse is required by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Please refrain from exposing these animals and yourself to potential harm.

Most of their ancestors were likely horses that were turned loose at the end of the Pony Express era. When the Pony Express lost its contract with the U.S. Postal Service, the owners simply turned the horses loose in the mountains rather than transporting them to a sales lot, and more than 130 years later, they have become free-roaming wild mustangs rather than feral horses.

Length of Tour


Itinerary (Subject to change based on weather and other un-foreseen factors)

Day 1
Arrive in SLC airport by 11:00 am for pick-up
1:00 pm Lunch in Tooele
2:00 pm Check into Best Western
3:00 pm Leave to find and photograph horses
8:30 pm Dinner in Tooele


Day 2
4:00 am Rise and shine
5:00 am Leave to find horses (eat “sack breakfast” on the way)
11:00 am Lunch (“ice-chest” lunch)
7:00 pm Return to Tooele
8:30 pm Dinner


Day 3
4:00 am Rise and shine
5:00 am Leave to find horses (eat “sack breakfast” on the way)
11:00 am Lunch (“ice-chest” lunch)
5:00 pm Leave the field to return to Tooele
6:30 pm Post-production class at Best Western
8:30 pm Dinner


Day 4
5:30 am Rise & Shine
6:30 am Breakfast at the hotel
7:15 am Leave for Antelope Island
9:00 am Arrive, scout, photograph
12:30 am Lunch at The Island Buffalo Grill (open 12:00 – 4:00)
2:00 pm Photograph various locations
6:00 pm Leave for dinner
8:00 pm Leave for Tooele


Day 5
4:00 am Rise and shine
5:00 am Leave to find horses (eat “sack breakfast” on the way)
11:00 am Lunch (“ice-chest” lunch)
5:00 pm Leave the field to return to Tooele
6:30 pm Post-production class at Best Western
8:30 pm Dinner


Day 6
5:00 am Rise and shine (pack up for 7:30 a.m. check-out)
6:00 am Breakfast at Best Western
7:30 am Check out, leave Tooele for SLC airport
9:30 am Goodbyes at SLC airport, flight home


Cost is $3,950 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Salt Lake City, Utah (Airport code SLC.
This trip ends in Salt Lake City, Utah (Airport code SLC).

Cost Includes

Cost includes all meals, all ground transportation, accommodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

Flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $500 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes standard Best Western.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Intermediate – several miles of walking over relatively level ground of sand, grass, and gravel.

Suggested Basic Photographic Skill Level

Attendees should know how to use their camera, including changing modes, shooting manual focus, white balance and the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed and chip sensitivity/ISO).

Understanding of basic photographic concepts including depth of field, field of view and using the histogram.

However, if you don’t know this stuff, we are there to teach you and you will know it by the time you leave.

Recommended Camera Gear


  • Camera body
       -Freshly charged batteries (re-charge each night regardless of the state of charge)
       -Spare batteries (at least twice what you think you will need)
       -Media cards installed in the camera (one in each slot)
       -Spare media cards (again, at least twice what you think you will need)
  • Lenses
       -Wide-angle   16 – 35 mm
       -Medium zoom   24 – 70 mm or 24 – 105 mm
       -Longer zoom   70 – 200 mm
       -Tele-converter   1.4x and / or 2.0x
  • Tripod or monopod

Additional gear, if possible:

  • Additional body
  • Longer telephoto lens – 100-400mm or 150-600mm
  • Polarizing filters
  • Split neutral density filters (soft edge)

Instructors have the proper permits for the BLM lands.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map